Need to sell deceased parents' home.

Asked by mwheelz16, Orange, CA Tue Mar 19, 2013

My mother recently passed and my brother and sister and I need to sell moms place. It's a real clean situation. She had a living trust and everything is spelled out in the trust that the three of us receive the property. We all agreed to sell and there’s no dispute what so ever. My concern is how we do the paper work. I know the property is not technically ours yet, however, we want to keep moving forward with a listing while we wait for the death certificate and the legal process that has to occur. My brother asked a friend and he said that we can take the listing in one or all of our names. Didn't sound right to me. There has to be a correct way. To make things smoother since my sister lives closest to the property (So Cal vs Nor Cal for Bro and I), we would like to have it so my sister handles everything and signs everything "real estate" listing wise, inspections, etc. We know we will eventually need to sign the legal docs to transfer ownership. How should we take the listing?

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Steve Alford, , Orange County, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
It sounds as though your mother has done this correctly and the process should roll smoothly along. There will typically be no headaches if the Trust is sound. Being that there are three of you involved and two of you are out of area, your request to have your sister handle is an obvious and simple way to handle this.
If what is stated is accurate you do not need anyone with special skills on probate or title or otherwise. A good title and escrow company will do just fine. You need someone with buyers, investors and typical know how. Pick your representation wisely and everyone involved will be more than happy.

Steve Alford, CEO
Orange County Real Estate Group
1 vote
Mahesh Patel, Agent, Anaheim Hills, CA
Thu Sep 5, 2013
Sorry to hear about you mother. Our condolences.

I would highly recommend you talk to a legal professional. I totally understand your question.

Who can sign the papers... it all depends.. is it in a trust, is there a will, does it have to go thru the probate process or not?...etc

I am working on a transaction that is similar. I will be glad to help with the sales process, but I recommend that you talk to a legal professional so you do it the right way. There are also tax implications that has to be dealt with, if any.

Feel free to email me if I can refer you to a local attorney or CPA.

Mike Patel
0 votes
Nicole Fedor…, Agent, Santa Ana, CA
Thu Sep 5, 2013
Only the legal owner and/or the Power of Attorney can sign paperwork. Your sister can certainly be the point person, but the other individuals that can enter into a LEGAL real estate contract are the persons on title or their power of attorney.
If you are listing with me, please contact me! I specialize in Orange, and would be happy to guide you through the process!
Nicole Fedorchek, Realtor
DRE 01920370
0 votes
Paul Hargra…, Agent, Woodland Hills, CA
Mon Aug 5, 2013
This answer is for mwheelz16 and all others who face this same situation.

We do what no other Realtor will do for you. At NO upfront cost to the family we will fix up your worn down home, so instead of the buyer making a profit on your home, the family will get to unlock all the equity your parents worked an entire lifetime for. We do all of this for the same fee you'd pay any other Realtor. Call us today to see how we can put our proven Fix & Sell Strategy to work for you.

We have sold over 350 Probate & Trust homes. Visit our website to see the many Before & After transformations we have done. See our short video that explains it all

Paul Hargraves
Trust Properties USA
0 votes
Gregg McElwee, Agent, Aliso Viejo, CA
Mon Jun 17, 2013
Its been awhile and wanted to follow up and see if you have made any decisions with your Mom's property. I have been a broker for 25 years and I know how to make this transaction go very smoothy.
Let's discuss a game plan.
Gregg McElwee
(800) 600-8506
0 votes
Karen Fenn, Agent, Anaheim Hills, CA
Sun Mar 31, 2013
Goiod morning,
I am so sorry to hear of the passingof your mother....let me put your questions in iiieasy answers for you:
1. The property is in a Trust which is actually a legal identity of its own. In the Trust document is should state who is to become the successor Trustee at the time of your mother's passing. That person can sign documents on behalf of the Trust to list the property and handle the numerous pieces of paperwork that are a part of the sale of a property.
2. Not knowing who is designated by the Trust to be the Trustee I don't know if that is your sister, brother or this electronic age the paperwork can all be handled by computor or mail so where the Trustee is living shouldn't make a difference.
3. Inspections like termite inspection, meeting the appraisor when the property sells, meeting the buyers inspector for the home inspection can all be handled by the real estate agent you entrust with the sale.
4. The legal documents for the sale are prepared by the escrow officer at an escrow company once a buyer has made an acceptable offer for the property. Again, very easy to handle the signing.
5. Do you need to consider having an "Estate Sale" for personal furniture and belongings that are in the property - if so I can recommend several companies to you.
6. Wise to have one of you meet the agent you choose at the property to do a visual inspection so suggestions can be made to prepare the property to show to its best advantage to a buyer.

I just closed the sale of a property in Laguna Niguel and one in Yorba Linda for two seperate families who had lost loved ones.....both transactions were handled smoothly with limited stress on the family members. I am happy to provide the names andphone numbers of those clients for you to speak with them directly on my services.

Please don't hesitate to conotact me either via email or phone to discuss any other questions you may have. If you share the property address with me I can provide you with some pre-liminary pricing data to give you an accurate picture of the value of your mother's property.

Looking forward to talking with you.
Karen Fenn
Prudential California Realty
Cell 714 742-3997
Office: 714 283-6630
0 votes
LoneStarRang…, Home Seller, Orange, CA
Sun Mar 31, 2013
Save yourself the time and heart-ache & use a real estate investor. I'm in Austin, Tx & I used a guy; I looked for a small company & found this guy that its just a small business with him and his family. He removed my notion that I had of investors.

He got me more than a fair offer on my mom's house and we (my siblings & I) didn't have to deal with all this back and forth between agents & who's turn is it to go handle things. I just gets too messy with siblings.

My person, (Michael) great person, I know he's in Texas but he may buy homes in California too. Here is his site
0 votes
Lori Jeltema, Agent, Suffolk, VA
Wed Mar 27, 2013
Ask your closing attorney if the proceeds need to be held for any length of time unless you pay a 'bond' to release the funds. This is often the case and can take a year. Not sure of the rules regarding your home that is in a trust but ask the question just in case.

Hope it goes well.
0 votes
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Sat Mar 23, 2013
Going through a similar situation right now. If properly set up the trust should alleviate the need for probate. Consult with the attorney that drafted the trust and get a RE professional that knows how to deal with these types of transactions. It will be money well spent and save you a lot of additional grief than you're already dealing with.
0 votes
Carin Arrigo, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
Hi mwheelz,

Sincerely sorry for the loss of your mom. I identify with your question as I lost my mom a year ago, last January. My brother and I are co-executors and are now preparing to sell her house. Fortunately, as with your mom, she gave us the gift of her trust and there's no dispute regarding her property between my brother and I as well.

The sale of her property shall be listed per her trust as others have stated. I've contacted a trust attorney who's been instrumental in helping my brother and I through the process.

The one issue I'd like to share is to take deep breaths, give yourself time and don't feel pressured to make decisions until and unless you are ready. Your relationship between your brother and sister sounds grounded and solid. I wish you peace during this emotional time and all the best moving forward. It's taken my brother and I over a year since mom passed away and we have come to a place of peace with our decision. Please feel free to call me anytime. 714.290.2192

Warmest Regards,

Carin Arrigo-Zimmer

TopBroker Network Real Estate
0 votes
PacWest Prop…, Agent, Orange, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
visit with the experts at PacWest Properties.. they have handle several probate home sales... discover the ins and outs of deceased property sales..

contact them for a no obligation phone consultation at 714-771-3800
0 votes
Lyon Quan Do…, , Orange, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
Talk to the attorney that prepair the Living trust for you parent Or Find a Lawyer that you all agree to use. He/She can prepair your papers to sell the property and you don't have to come everytime it need your signatures.
0 votes
Vanessa Lidd…, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
I have to agree with Steve - if your trust is sound and the property was included correctly - there is no need for a probate specialist - putting your property properly in a trust prevents the need for probate. Simply reviewing your trust or speaking with the attorney who prepared your trust should be sufficient. You shouldn't have to incur any additional and unnecessary fees.

Vanessa Liddell
Real Estate Xperts, Inc.
714 351 -5013 - cell
0 votes
Rochelle Cha…, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
Hi, I'm certified in Probate Real Estate Transactions. I can assist you with the Probate Timeline, Glossary of important terms and a Free Market Analysis of the property. Here is my Web-site
0 votes
Karen Fenn, Agent, Anaheim Hills, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your mother was looking out for you and your siblings right up to the end. Others here have given very good advice. You might start by checking with the attorney that prepared your mother's trust. Your mother was the original trustee, but the trust should spell out who the successor trustee is and rules for changing that trustee if necessary. If the successor trustee is not your sister, you'll either need to make the necessary changes or the successor trustee identified in the trust will have to sign all the paperwork listing and selling the home in the trust's name.

I've worked with numerous trust and probate sales and will be able to guide you through the process. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with your and your family selling your mother's home. Please contact me at 714-742-3997 or at to set up a meeting to review your paperwork.

Karen Fenn
0 votes
Patti Gregory, Agent, Brea, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
Good Morning ~ I'm sorry for your loss.

You have a lot of great advice here, selling your mom's home will be fairly simple.
I work and grew up in Orange and know the neighborhoods well. We'll work closely with title to list your mom's home & ensure a smooth process. If I can help, you can reach me at 714-398-1998.
Patti Gregory, Realtor
Good luck to you!
0 votes
Mahesh Patel, Agent, Anaheim Hills, CA
Wed Mar 20, 2013
Sorry for your loss. I would highly recommend an attorney and seek legal advice. A small investment in time and money may save a lot of headaches or misundertstandings.

Please feel free to contact me if i can refer you to an attorny and or cpa here locally. Will also be glad to give you a home valuation.


Mike Patel
0 votes
Ryan Smith, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
First of all, sorry for your loss. I just closed escrow with a situation just like yours. The listing will be in your names with the acronym TTEE which stands for Trustee. In order for escrow to close, you will need a copy of the death certificate. Do you know if the Trust was recorded with the County Recorder's Office? If you're not sure I can find out for you.

Let me know if you need any further assistance or have any questions. I lived in Orange and am there weekly. If you haven't selected an experienced agent to help with this process, I'd be happy to lend a hand. Just give me a call on my cell...714.612.3963

Thanks and make it a GREAT night.
0 votes
Octavio Coro…, Agent, Anaheim, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
As others have mentioned, the listing should be taken under the Trust's name and one of the trustees can sign the listing. I have also dealt with a similar situation in which I listed a house and dealt with the sibling that lived locally, another in LA County and the third in Northern California. I was able to make the process as smooth as possible. Feel free to read their recommendation in my profile. I would be happy to answer any addition question. You can reach me at 714-321-8892.

Octavio Corona, Broker
DRE Lic# 01482763
0 votes
Ingrid Ski R…, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Hello there

The easier way to this is I get a copy of the trust and send it to the title company and they will tell me/you who will sign and I you need any additional paperwork. Total makes sure all the paperwork is in order to do the transfer
Talk to you soon

Ingrid Ski Realtor
0 votes
Rich Bickler, , Orange, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Assuming the property is in the trust, you would list it in the trusts name. If unsure, check with the Attorney that did the trust for your Mom or you can contact me and I can check to see if the property was transfered to the trust.

If it is not listed in the trust, contact the Attorney so they can take you through the process to dispose of the asset properly and provide you with court approval.

I am here to help should you have any other questions, take care and sorry for your loss
0 votes
Vanessa Lidd…, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Being a local Realtor in the Orange Area and also having over 30 years of experience in escrow and title I could very easily walk you through the process of listing, selling and completing the sale transaction to be in complete compliance with your mother's trust.

Please feel free to call or email me directly.

Vanessa Liddell
Real Estate Xperts, Inc.
714 351 5013 - cell
0 votes
Brian Wilson, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Hello mwheelz16,

First of all, I am sorry to hear of your mother passing but you should be glad for how your mother prepared. The process should be pretty simple as you state. For signatures I would recommend you speak with your trust attorney to see what document is needed to give your sister the approval to sign on behalf of you and your brother and to make sure of any other issues related to the sale. It may just be a simple power of attorney for the real estate transaction.

The current market is driven right now by low inventory and low interest rates so the home should sell quickly.

If I can offer any further assistance please feel free to let me know.

Brian Wilson, Realtor
DRE# 01321478
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
When a person passes away and leaves a trust, the trustees are given the responsibility of acting on behalf of the trust. In this case, it is the trust that disposes of assets, not you. You are correct – you cannot just list the property in one of your names.

The best thing to do is to contact the attorney who did the trust and get them to walk you through the process of correctly disposing of the assets in the trust. If the house is NOT in the trust, then the attorney can advise you as to the need for court approval for the sale.

Once the attorney has advised you of the proper steps, then you can proceed.
0 votes
Steve Colvin, Agent, Laguna Niguel, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Escrow will review/handle trust and sister can do all listing paperwork. This is very simple. Please give me a call if you have any additional questions.

Good luck

Steve Colvin
Premier Cal Realty
949-633-7014 cell
0 votes
Lori Hanson, Agent, Aliso Viejo, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
if there is a trust the listing should be in the name of the trust and you will need s copu of the trust and the death certificate. its sll pretty simple. I am sure the lawyer can guide you. if you neef snything else just email ot call me
Lori Hanson
OC Homes Realty
714-585-5236 cell
DRE 01405146
0 votes
Linda Lukas, , Orange County, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013

I am studying to become a certified probate realtor and I have settled living trusts belonging to family members...the trust should have named a trustee....the property should be titled as part of a trust for example...."the Joan Smith Trust"....the property should be held in the name of your mother's it is fairly simple to list the property. Go with a professional with 34 years of experience, go with Lukas Properties....

Linda M. Lukas
0 votes
Vic Mc, Home Buyer, Ladera Ranch, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Call me i can help you and guide you with the process.

Victor 714-900-3538
0 votes
Joe Homs, Agent, Laguna Hills, CA
Tue Mar 19, 2013
Your brothers friend was right. With a living trust everything is very simple. Have your sister list the home and handle the paperwork. Escrow will handle the transfer/sale from trust in escrow. The proceeds should go to your moms trust and the money divided there. Sorry for your loss. If you need an agent to sell the home give me a call.

Joe Homs, Realtor
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